WWYDW: Final Roster?


Welcome to the first of this season’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday! I’ll be your host today and every other Wednesday, J.D. Burke.

That was quite the Canucks pre-season. Lots of shaking and moving throughout the lineup. One of the professional tryouts is all but signed; one of the kids made the veterans more than a little uncomfortable with their job security. It’s the kind of thing you hope for with internal competition at training camp.

Vancouver’s camp wasn’t without casualties, though. Anton Rodin appears headed for injured reserve after re-aggravating his knee injury. Emerson Etem is on a one-way ticket to Utica. And in a move that strikes me as more than a bit odd, the Canucks sent Andrey Pedan to the farm, too.

So, with that in mind, how do your opening night lines look? I’ll provide an example on the other side of the jump, so that you know which pieces are in play.

Burke’s lineup:

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Loui Eriksson

Markus Granlund – Brandon Sutter – Jake Virtanen

Alexandre Burrows – Brendan Gaunce – Derek Dorsett

Extra: Jack Skille — IR: Anton Rodin

Alexander Edler – Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton – Erik Gudbranson

Nikita Tryamkin – Philip Larsen

Extra: Alex Biega, Luca Sbisa

Jacob Markstrom

Ryan Miller

Last week we asked:

who makes the opening night roster if you had the choice? Who doesn’t make the cut?


Stecher is a first year pro coming into the NHL and while Hutton might be an exception in general I think it’s better to get players used to the relative ease of an NCAA schedule a more gradual introduction to the grind of the pro game. Some time in Utica will be good for his development. Gaunce and Labate too, I think more time in Utica won’t be bad, rather than playing fourth line and press box minutes here. For a 13th forward to rotate in I’d definitely go with Skille, along with probably Pedan/Tryamkin/Larsen/Sbisa as the bottom pairing/press box D. Virtanen might need to go down and rehab the shoulder and get his confidence going. Skille is four years younger than Ruutu and had a decent year as a bottom six forward for Colorado last year. The only way that Ruutu makes more sense is if you decide to put Granlund on the wing with Horvat and Hansen for a decent two-way line (my preference would be to have Sutter as the 3C with Burrows and Hansen for a good shutdown line and Horvat-Baertschi-Rodin as a sheltered scoring 2nd line but I don’t know that’s going to happen). In that case you could put Ruutu between Etem and Dorsett.

My optimal case would be that the Canucks actually demote Sbisa and Biega, carry Ruutu, Skille and Pedan as the extras but it’s unlikely to happen.


Send down the sedins, they havent shown up ONCE during the preseason! All kidding aside, I would send down Gaunce, Virtanen, Beiga, Stecher and Etem. Keep Skille or Ruutu. If you keep one of the two PTOs then keep Etem for 13th fwrd. I am not sold on Granlund being a 4th line center. He looked really good with Baertschi and Rodin, or as a winger himself. Sedins could play with Eriksson, Sutter, or Hansen. Eriksson would make it a legit first line, Sutter would give them the RH faceoff guy, and we know what Hansen can do there. With Sutter or Hansen there, it would provide our second line with more firepower, and Eriksson could play on his natural side. Lines in my eye would like this:

Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson Baertschi-Horvat-Rodin Granlund-Sutter-Hansen Skille-Ruutu-Dorsett Burrows


Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson Baertschi-Horvat-Rodin Burrows-Sutter-Hansen Skille-Granlund-Dorsett Etem


Sedin-Sedin-Sutter Eriksson-Horvat-Hansen Baertschi-Granlund-Rodin Burrows-Ruutu-Dorsett Etem

Edler-Tanev Hutton-Gudbranson Sbisa-Larson Pedan-Tryamkin

….ahhh i cannot decide! Good thing I am not making these decisions


Stecher is making the team. Look how amazing he’s been on the powerplay and he has not even played with the Sedins and Ericson. Surely that is not lost on WD and JB. They have to convince Tryamkin to go Utica along with Pedan. I know there was a lot of JB hype on Larsson – but he hasn’t really done anything.

Gaunce has to make the team, and Etem and Dorsett rotate in the press box. Canucks have 48 out of the max 50 contracts, so I don’t see Skille and Ruutu being signed.


Sedins & Eriksson Bae, Bo, Rodin Granlund, Sutter, Hansen Skille, Gaunce, Dorsett Burrows

Edler – Tanev Hutton – Guds Sbisa – Larsen Pedan – Biega Tryamkin (?)

Keep Skille over Rutuu because Granlund can backup Gaunce at centre. Skille is a better depth winger with more size, grit and Skille 😉

Etem gets put on waivers to Utica ASAP. Or…he could start with the team as a final trial. This hopefully means that Skille is signed to a lucrative 2-way deal as a backup option.

Virtanen to Utica for an extended period of time. He needs more minutes and development so he can become the legitimate top 6 forward everyone wants him to be.

I love Stetcher but the Canucks honestly are not ready for him. Give him one year Utica. He then takes over Sbisas spot when we lose him in expansion draft next summer.

Finally, I would like to see Tryamkin also go to Utica. He needs it. Not sure if he’s willing though…

Biega would then be the 8th Dman and shortly become expansion draft eligiable.


If Jack Skille and Tuomo Ruutu are playing well enough to stay, I’d like them to stay, as long as the guys they push out don’t have to clear waivers to go to Utica. ’51

Killer Marmot:

The Canucks management have declared that they are striving for the playoffs, an attitude I approve of.

But if they are going to make a serious attempt then they will have to take a few chances. This means Rodin and Virtanen — two talented but inexperienced players — should be given middle-six positions from the first day of the season. Playing it safe with Burrows or Granlund (on right wing) in the middle six has limited up side.


Lots to consider here. My take is that Etem and Pedan have not been good enough to make the team. I was really excited about Larsen but he is soft and his defensive game is not good enough. I love Tryamkin’s size but he should not be selected on that alone. His foot speed is only OK especially when changing directions and his position and timing are still off. I want him to make it but it will be half a season of a liability until I think he can be a real positive on the ice. All that being said I think he makes it.

Sbisa is making the team to think otherwise is silly. He was good in the WC as well. so I think you keep Stetcher and Biega as spares but getting Stecher in whenever possible.

At the front Ruttu would be an excellent 4th liner that could move up if needed. Send Vrtana, Etem Skille, Labate down with Vrtanen being the first call up. He needs to get his game rolling in Utica with big minutes. Rodin is a great player from what I have seen and is not going to benefit as much from Utica. Keep Gaunce as he can roll in on the fourth line as a winger or Center; or roll into the third line as a winger. So: SSE; BHR; BSH;RGD; spare Gaunce

Billy Pilgrim:

I don’t get why everyone is so down on Etem. He is going to be be asked to play 4th line minutes, fore check hard, and provide a bit of secondary scoring. His rivals for roster spots are PTOs (Skillet and Ruutu) who have less upside and are unlikely contribute more. Or younger players who would benefit from bigger minutes in Utica, and are unlikely to contribute much if any more.

The smart play is to keep him. Little risk with some upside. The shiny new/old thing is alluring but the long term value is questionable.

  • detox

    Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen

    Markus Granlund – Brandon Sutter- Loui Eriksson

    Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Jake Virtanen

    Alexandre Burrows – Brendan Gaunce – Derek Dorsett

    Extra: Jack Skille — IR: Anton Rodin

    Alexander Edler – Chris Tanev

    Ben Hutton – Erik Gudbranson

    Luca Sbisa – Philip Larsen

    Extra: Alex Biega, Nikita Tryamkin

    Ryan Miller

    Jacob Markstrom

    I liked JDB’s lineup, especially Eriksson on Bo’s wing, but I think we will see something closer to this. I’m not sure how long Burrows will have his spot.

    • Dirty30

      Slight change to your line-up:

      Daniel — Henrik — Jannik

      Baertschi — Horvat — Eriksson

      Burrows — Sutter — Virtanen

      Granlund — Gaunce — Skille

      Dorsett etc

      I’d like to see Bo have a better winger and for Baer to have the opportunity to learn from Loui. It makes this line more of a scoring line.

      Third line gets some grit and experience from Burrows, calmness from Sutter and lets Virtanen get some two-way experience and learn some controlled mayhem.

      Fourth line has some skill and can take on multiple low-end roles. If a bit more grit is needed, pop DD onto the line. Skille can go both ways.

      Things will change when Rodin returns but he could bump Burrows. Gives a different edge to the third line with Rodin, but Alex can still pot some goals too. Rotating those two would give them both some rest.

  • TheRealRusty

    What’s up with the fascination with keeping the twins together? Especially considering the lack of scoring depth. People seem to forget that both Sedins had career years apart (due to injuries). IMHO Daniel has morphed more into a playmaker than a shooter.

    Ericsson-HSedin-Hansen DSedin-Sutter-Virtanen Baertschi-Horvat-Rodin/Burrows Granlund-Gaunce- Skille/Dorsett

    • Vanoxy

      What’s up with the fascination with splitting the Twins up?

      People have been preaching that for 17 years.

      And they have consistently provided top line production. Art Ross level scoring. MVP awards and highlight reel goals.

      I’m not adverse to splitting them up from time to time, in order to double shift them and get a second line scoring. But at this point, splitting them up on an ongoing basis is on par with anit-vaxxers and flat earthers.

    • You obviously have never compared how the Sedins cycle the puck vs. anyone else in the history of the NHL. They cycle the puck and maintain possession like no one else. The problem is finding a right winger who can maintain the cycle, find the open ice that the cycle creates and then put the puck in the net if the Sedins feed the puck. The problem is that the cycle breaks down when the RW loses possession or the defence shut down Daniel when they realize he’s the only trigger man on the ice. If Eriksson clicks (and it looks like he will), the Sedins will be one of the most dangerous first lines in the NHL.

    • I think your Sedins split idea may have some merit. The lines you propose look good except I would put ummm…nm it looks good lol. Hey it’s worth a try and if given a couple of weeks and it hasn’t worked then abandon it

  • It likely won’t make much difference as to whether Horvat or Sutter is deemed to be the second line. The top three lines may well see near-equal ice time, with Sutter being preferred for face-offs in the defensive zone.

    If the top three lines can avoid excessive injuries, the fourth line may be less busy this year. That would be a good sign.

    • I’d love to see more of the fourth line if their contribution is aggressive forechecking and hitting. Gaunce and Skille are a significant size upgrade over last year’s fourth liners (e.g. Granlund, McCann, Vey). It’s tiring to see big guys like Hanzal and Ferland break the Canucks after just one shift.

      • My reasoning is that if the first three lines are all healthy and playing well, Desjardins will not be able to afford to give the fourth line a lot of ice time. He’ll be giving up too much potential production.

        Sutter and Virtanen are big, strong forwards who will see far more ice time this year (knock on wood). They will not be as easy to overpower as last year’s version of the Canucks.

        Gaunce and Skille might still get lots of ice time when they fill in for injuries in the first three lines.

        • Presuming that the Canucks earn a playoff spot, they won’t get far without rolling 4 lines. I think it would be more beneficial to have a consistent fourth line that has chemistry and identity.

          If Desjardin wants more offensive production, he should fix the powerplay – that’s the real wasted ice-time. If the PP improves from 15% to 20%, that’s like having an extra third line scorer (10-15 goals).

          • TheRealRusty

            Of course the fourth line will get ice time, and of course the Canucks should improve the power play.

            But the brutal truth is that players on the 4th line are the less valuable players. As much as you enjoy watching Skille throw body checks, if it’s the third period and it’s a close game, Desjardins has to be more willing to shorten that bench.

          • Oh, I absolutely agree with you that Desjardin needs to learn to shorten the bench and get the right players on the ice in key situations. But I think that teams that run a fourth line for 8 minutes (~5 shifts per period) have to because of a lack of depth. I think Skille/Gaunce/Dorsett are better than that and have the potential to add a valuable element that the other 3 lines are missing (physicality with some degree of offensive capability).

  • acg5151

    Sedins – Eriksson

    Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen

    Granlund – Sutter – Hansen

    Etem – Gaunce – Burrows


    Edler – Tanev

    Hutton – Gudbranson

    Stecher – Larsen


    That’s what would happen if I was Gm and coach, just swap Stecher with Tryamkin every 3-4 games and give each of them roughly equal amounts of games until injuries mount. That keeps them fresh and we can play them more when injuries mount which is inevitable. I would want each pair playing between 18-22 minutes. I would want the first line playing 19-20 min, second and third lines playing 16-18 min and 4th line playing 6-9 minutes a night.

    Willie won’t do that though, he’ll play one pair like 12 minutes and the other pairs like 25 minutes. To be honest I don’t think it was a bad idea sending Stecher down though as long as he gets a ton of minutes in Utica and gets a call up as injuries mount.

    If I was Gm I would never have traded for Sbisa and I would have let Dorsett walk after his first season here, both players way overpaid. I think we could have gotten a lot of other players than Sbisa in the Kesler trade that would have been better choices than Sbisa.

  • SJ

    D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Eriksson
    Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen
    Granlund – Sutter – Hansen
    Burrows – Gaunce – Skille

    extra: Dorsett
    IR: Rodin
    If Virtanen is still hurting, Dorsett moves to line 4, other RW’s bump up a rung.

    Edler – Tanev
    Hutton – Gudbranson
    Sbisa – Larsen
    Tryamkin – Biega (barring injuries, I would rotate these bottom 4 guys through the bottom pairing, based on who’s playing better/matchups/etc.)

  • Dirty30

    Whatever the lines, I hope Desjardins keeps them a little more consistent than last year.

    This guys loves to mix and match his lines. To some extent that’s inevitable, and of course none of us are privy as to why most of these changes occur. But if line-mates are to develop chemistry, they need playing time together.

  • Bob Long

    This has the best mix of scoring youth and the best 4th line in the league.

    Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin -Loui Eriksson

    Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Jake Virtanen

    Markus Granlund – Brandon Sutter- Burr (until Rodin is back)

    Dorsett- Brendan Gaunce – Jannik Hansen

    Extra: Burr. Jack Skille signs with Florida Panthers tomorrow

    Alexander Edler – Chris Tanev

    Ben Hutton – Erik Gudbranson

    Luca Sbisa – Philip Larsen

    Extra: Alex Biega, Nikita Tryamkin

    Ryan Miller

    Jacob Markstrom

  • TheRealPB

    Is the idea to play the Sedins with Eriksson exclusively for the PP and keep them with Hansen for the rest? That’s interesting insofar as creating a scoring second line though I’d still prefer to have a sheltered scoring third line with Baertschi, Horvat and Virtanen. I like the idea of Granlund on the wing. Perhaps the idea is to have Rodin spell off someone who’s slumping when he comes back from injury. I still think keeping Biega over Pedan is puzzling unless you see him as a press box regular (i certainly do). Same with Dorsett over Etem. The platoon that makes way more sense for the bottom pairing is Pedan-Tryamkin-Larsen and fake an injury with Sbisa.

    • Dirty30

      I still think keeping Biega over Pedan is puzzling unless you see him as a press box regular (i certainly do).

      I think that’s it. Being a seventh defenseman is no way to develop, so let Pedan play 25 minutes a game in Utica for the time being.

      In other words, sending Pedan down may have been an endorsement of his potential over Biega’s.

  • krutov

    keeping biega up is pragmatic. i don’t think anybody looking at larsen is banking on him playing 82 nhl games unscathed and effectively. biega will platoon with and shelter larsen and, if larsen fades under the nhl grind anyway, he can platoon with and shelter stecher for the same reasons. while he is doing that he will get his expansion eligibility games in.

    i would not be surprised if biega plays more games than larsen or stecher this season.

    where i am worried is whether tryamkin can hold his own in a game that counts if a left d goes down.

  • Hockey Warrior

    Well, here we are again couch potatoes… a new season and the 47th to end in abject FAILURE for the jinxed franchise we all love to hate. Yep, the Canucks hit the ice Sat against the resurgent FLAMES, averaging ONE STANLEY CUP FINAL every fifteen tears… ALL 3 of them ending in LOSSES.

    Reading the round ups today it seems EVERY pundit has run the rule over the Canucks and like myself are tipping the team for its WORST season ever and a lotto basement finish!

    So, rather than waste time talking about line combos, here’s a few FACTS for you lot to chew on alongside your spiced beef jerkey… remember, you read it here first and i STAND BY every word…

    1, Vancouver will be 2-7-1 after the first 10 games…

    2, RODIN is done like dinner. NO ONE bounces back from a severe knee injury – ask PAVEL BURE. NHL career OVER before it began guys.

    3. By Xmas Real S@@T Willie will be gone – the ownership will therefore start meddling and panicking, as the ROG will be emptier than an Eastside Liquor store on welfare Wednesday,

    Yep.. keep playing jiggle the lines friends whilst i shall be in a private box shouting over at Shorty and Garrett TOLD YOUUUU!!!!

    Have a great weekend guys – Game ON!!!

  • andyg


    Obviously Jake won’t play as much as the Sedins, so Hansen or Eriksson would take shifts on the top line. Hopefully get more scoring from the 2nd line while the 3rd line doesn’t the heavy lifting defensively.

    Defence seems obvious. Just pick your flavour of suck for the 3rd pair.

  • When healthy, I think the lineup may end up looking like this:

    Two offensive lines

    D.Sedin – H.Sedin – Eriksson
    Baertchi – Granlund – Rodin

    Two defensive lines

    Gaunce – Sutter – Hansen
    Burrows – Horvat – Virtanen

    Dorsett and Skille would shuffle Rodin, Gaunce and Virtanen as they come in and out.

  • TheRealPB

    First and foremost get Dorsett watching from the press box. If as someone replied tome yesterday we need some physicality for an anticipated street brawl game, then dress Pedan. He is legitimate heavyweight tough.

    Sedins/erikson line1


    horvat/beartchi/virtanen line3 build the kid chemistry

    burrows/gaunce/skille line4 with Pedan/Dorsett rotating on game to game basis

    Anton Rodin bumps Hansen when healthy,Hansen then bumps Virtanen on line 3 and Virtanen goes to 4th line

    Tanev/Edler Gudbrandson/hutton Tryamkin/sbisa
    swing dman larsen

  • TheRealPB

    Say Auston Matthews is putting on a show tonight in his 1st nhl game. Got a natural hattrick!

    And we got squat, Desjardins as a coach who will skate Dorsett like he is Guy Lafleur on right wing while 6th overall Virtanen struggles to make the lineup!

    Something wrong here? Matthews goal number4

  • TheRealRusty

    I am hoping Benning is still trying to fleece a GM or two to add more talent in the prospect pool. Canucks are a bit desperate and should still buy-low on E. Kane (nothing higher than a late 2nd or Sbisa). Maybe Benning is kicking the tires on Nichushkin but who knows – it seems Dallas and Van aren’t allowed to play nice and make hockey deals.

    If the Canucks are out of it at the deadline then look to deal Edler and get back a few top tier prospects. Hansen and Burrows should also be put out there as well as Dorsett – you never know.

    Anyway, until then, Canucks should look like:


    Granlund/Sutter/Hansen (Rodin when healthy)

    Baertschi/Hortvat/Virtanen (I’d prefer Virt in Utica)







    I think Larsen will be an issue on D and will find himself in the press box in the near future.

  • TheRealRusty

    Most of the projected lineups have Granlund as 2LW, I’m having a hard time accepting that. Some of the shuffling of the 2nd and 3rd is a grey area, but is 2LW a hole? Other than that things seem as solid as the available personnel allow. Maybe I’m not giving Granlund enough credit outside of the bottom 6 center position.

  • Hockey Warrior

    TherealRusty is that all you got? I aint no leaf fan,but come on they got a game changing stud! And while Jake will never come close to Mattews he is a whole better option to Dorsett or Willys boy!

  • Hockey Warrior

    Bear with me on this: According to Leftwinglock.com, in his injury-plagued year last year, Brandon Sutter’s most frequent linemates were Alex Burrows and Jake Virtanen. I wouldn’t be super shocked to see that happen again this season what with Willie D. and his strange line combinations at the helm. I wouldn’t be shocked to see:





    What I’d like to see, though, is:

    Daniel – Henrik – Burrows (Rodin when healthy)

    Eriksson – Sutter – Hansen

    Baertschi – Horvat – Virtanen

    Granlund – Gaunce – Skille